SUN Hockey Pool

Flames duo defends Bert

STEVE MACFARLANE -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 9:01 AM ET

They were combatants on the ice last night at the Saddledome.

But hours before division rivals Flames and Canucks went to battle, Calgary's Jarome Iginla and Robyn Regehr had the back of Vancouver power forward Todd Bertuzzi.

Big Bert became the scapegoat in Team Canada's 2-0 Olympic quarter-final loss to the Russians last Wednesday.

His interference penalty in the second period led to the winning goal, which broke a scoreless tie and ultimately sent the 2002 Olympic hockey champs home without a medal.

Many enraged fans -- even CBC colour commentator Harry Neale -- chided Bertuzzi for taking such an unnecessary infraction in an elimination game.

With moist eyes, Bertuzzi apologized to his teammates in Turin for the costly interference penalty.

The apology, said Bertuzzi's Olympic teammate Iginla, was unnecessary. Nobody on the inside was passing blame.

"Penalties are part of the game," Iginla said. "He plays hard -- we were all trying to play hard -- that is just normal.

"By no means did any of us look to point fingers there. The game was so close that one goal could have made the difference.

"You have to score goals to win."

If Bertuzzi was contrite in the minutes after the quarter-final loss, he was hardly apologetic with reporters yesterday.

"I'm disappointed I couldn't get a goal and win that tournament but life goes on," said Bertuzzi.

"I don't know if you do (get over it). But it was a great experience. I wouldn't change it for the world. Now it's time to move on here with Vancouver."

The burly winger then pushed through the pack and made for the nearest exit.

Regehr, another of Bertuzzi's Olympic teammates, said it's unfair for disappointed Canadian hockey fans to make Bertuzzi the bad guy based on a bad penalty.

"That's not correct at all. I think that's usually people that maybe still have hard feelings against him about prior incidents," said Regehr, referring to Bertuzzi's 2004 attack on Colorado Avalanche forward Steve Moore.

"You can look back at the tournament and see many things that didn't go right."


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